Gardening This Weekend: February 14, 2019

This weekend’s cool weather means it’s still early for application of pre-emergent granules. I’ll have full details in e-gardens next week. In the meantime, here are this weekend’s critical tasks.

Cole crops and Irish potatoes – this is prime time for most of Texas. See related story this issue.
Leafy and root vegetables in South Texas gardens. (Wait two weeks in Central, North Texas.)
Cool-season annuals, including petunias, stocks, wallflowers, English daisies, sweet alyssum and larkspurs.
Finish all transplanting of established trees and shrubs (too late in South Texas if they’re budded and growing).
Dig and divide late-summer and fall-blooming perennials such as fall asters, Mexican bush sage and mums (too late in South Texas if they’ve already started growing).

Evergreen shrubs as needed to guide their growth, but unless you have a very formal garden, avoid pruning into round or square shapes. Allow your plants to grow naturally. It’s a lot easier.
Summer-flowering shrubs and vines, but remember: never top crape myrtles. There is no justifiable reason!
Bush roses by 50 percent. Make each cut just above a bud facing out from the center of the plant. If your plants are infected with rose rosette virus, remove them entirely (roots and all) to slow its spread to other plants in the neighborhood. There is no prevention or cure. I have photos on my website.
Scalp lawn by dropping the mower one notch to tidy it up and remove as many of the rank weeds as possible. Put clippings in compost. Do not send to landfill.

Rye and fescue turf with high-quality, all-nitrogen fertilizer. This is prime time for these cool-season grasses. Apply at half or two-thirds the rate you would use for St. Augustine or bermuda.
Annual color with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to keep plants growing, blooming actively.
Asparagus with all-nitrogen, fast-release fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate to stimulate strong shoot growth.

Continued Below


Stake and guy newly transplanted shade trees to keep them vertical. Pad trunks to prevent damage.
Wrap trunks of red oaks, water oaks, Chinese pistachios to protect against sunscald and subsequent invasion by borers. Leave wrap in place for 1-2 years until leaf canopy can shade the trunks.
Aphids on tender new growth of shrubs, vegetables, perennials and annuals. You may be able to blast them off with a hard stream of water, or most general-purpose insecticides will eliminate them.
Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) to eliminate non-grassy weeds like dandelions, clover and chickweed. Scalping will help, but then wait a week or two after the mowing before spraying any that persist.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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